A broken foot (twice), a mom with multiple sclerosis, a dad with a passion for sports, and a heart for Jesus; What do all of these things make up? A basketball-playing, hard-working, and God-fearing Abby Dorman. On Wednesday, November 6, I had the privilege of sitting down with Abby and picking her brain about faith, sports, and life in general.
As a freshman from Colorado Springs, Abby is currently studying Communication while also completing the Journalism Certificate at Wheaton College as well as a member of the Women’s Varsity Basketball team. After transferring from a public charter school to a private christian school her sophomore year of high school, Abby started to grow significantly in her faith through the lessons God was teaching her about worshiping and honoring Him in all that she does. With positive support from both her coach and teammates, she began to understand and see basketball as a form of service and worship to God rather than just an extra-curricular. Prior to transferring, Abby suffered a broken foot at the beginning of her freshman basketball season. This broken foot would be the beginning of a journey that would teach her patience, value, and a new respect for the Lord and His will.
“It was really hard for me because I was beginning high school and I was ready to play well”, she said. “It was hard to sit and realize that basketball was something that could be taken away from me and I didn’t have control over it.” As many athletes know, injuries prompt an immediate inward struggle between personal will and slow, patient rehabilitation. Although some athletes take the time to rehab and prepare themselves to train again, accidents are always around the corner. The following spring, Abby broke her foot again. “Learning that lesson twice was hard but I think it drove it home even more that I don’t have control over it”, she said. What is so amazing is that Abby was able to understand the implications of this injury outside of herself. In our interview she said, “God was showing that His will is different than mine…I may have wanted to win, but His plan to bring glory to Himself was different than mine.” Despite her repeated injury and struggles that it prompted, Abby took more out of it than it’s face value. She stated, “Whether I am playing well, or not playing at all, basketball is something that I can worship Him in…my identity is not in [basketball].”
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/119690835″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Outside of basketball, Abby talked about her passions, drives, and future plans. A natural lover of sports, she does not know whether she will go into coaching, sports writing, or even being involved at a school in some capacity. Her multiple passions and talents are leaving many doors open for her. Apart from sports, she also plays guitar and helps lead worship for her youth group. “It [guitar] doesn’t have to be in a public way, but it is something I want to keep with me…even when I am alone, playing guitar is a way of worship and expression to God.” Her faith is not merely restricted to music and sports, but she has a passion for people and their stories. “One dream job would be to go and find a story and trace it back…hear how it happened and hearing other people’s lives.”
Being at Wheaton, she has had no shortage of meeting people with a variety of stories and finding encouragement from other like-minded Christians. “A high point [in her faith] has been here [at Wheaton], being surrounded by people who want to encourage [her] in [her] faith and want to be honest.” Although Wheaton is known for it’s academic rigor and students determined for success, she continues to remind herself that she is not defined by academic performance or athletic performance, but by God alone.
As our interview went on, we talked about who her inspiration is. She shared a bit about her family history and how her family has shaped her faith, interests, and self as a whole. “I’m an only child, so I have had to experience [my parents] attention my whole life, but that means they have been able to give so much to me also.” She continued on about her dad and his love for sports and involvement in her athletics. “My dad coached me…was there all the time”, she said. “His godliness…always encouraging [her] in [her] injury” was extremely formative in her understanding of God’s plan and action in her life. She continued, “he would never let the game get out of perspective.” Although her dad inspired a deep love for sports, he also helped shaped an ever-deepening faith. Alongside her father, Abby praised her mom for her strength, and that strength as being a mold to help shape her. Abby joked, “[her mom] has had [multiple sclerosis] as long as she can remember and she just thought that is what mom’s had.” As she has grown up, she has started to see the implications of MS and infinitely admires her mother’s strength. Abby claims her love of writing from her mother, who, in hard times, “writes and looks to God”. The heavy, positive influence of both parents have collaborated to form a unique balance in Abby’s interests and passions.
Towards the end of the interview, I asked Abby if she had the option to live anywhere in the world and serve in any capacity, what she would do. As for the states, she has fallen in love with the Wheaton area and Chicago, but is not totally sold on city life. As for the world, she would love to go to Europe and travel, and then to Africa for a short trip to help with all the need and love that lies there. “Learning from them would be an amazing thing.” This last quote really sums up Abby as a whole: driven, curious, encouraging, loving, and eager to learn and do God’s will at all times.